“In the thousands of pictures I took of my daughter in the first year of her life I realized I was not in most of them… Hiding behind the camera, and putting off the dreaded family portrait is just not acceptable to me any longer and it should not be for you either. Moms unite and Stay in the Picture!”
By Erin McDonald
Here are my “6 Truths About Having Your Family Portrait Created by a Professional”
1. It’s going to cost you money. You trust professionals to cut your hair, operate on your gallbladder, and do your taxes – and it costs many times more to pay them to do it than it would cost to do it yourself (and I’m pretty sure you can’t operate on your own gallbladder no matter what!) You’re paying for the talent and skills that person has honed. It costs more. Most things that are worth having do.
2. Your Family Will Thank You. Ok, so it might be a while before the moody teenager grows to appreciate the legacy you are trying to create but someday someone will say it. As we progress in our lives, our photos and other memories of our past play a more significant role than we realized in our youth. It’s important that you help your children to understand this, and encourage them to “make those memories” or they will be lost forever. Fortunately for us, our parents made prints from our childhood. These prints last longer and are the easiest media to view. They are the best way to preserve our history and heritage.
3. You DO need to hire a professional. Sure, your neighbor has a great camera but she is no professional. Shooting professional photography is a skill, acquired through years of experience. Even though our camera’s average $4,000-$5,000 for just the body, and most of our lens are in the $2,000 category, taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera. In addition to learning how to use the camera itself, there is a mountain of other equipment involved, as well as numerous software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website etc. And let’s not forget that you actually have to have people skills, be able to communicate, make people comfortable in front of the camera – and posing people to make them look their best in a photograph is a skill all by itself.
4. Your kids WILL behave! There is no need to tell the kids that Santa won’t come if they don’t behave RIGHT NOW, or bribe them with candy. Professional Photographers know that the best portraits are created when everyone is having fun. In our years of experience we have designed a whole bag of tricks we use to get children, dogs & even husbands to do just what we want them to do! Leave it to the pros!
5. It’s going to require some planning. You will have to plan what time of day is best for your family’s busy schedule and the desired lighting conditions- please take naptimes into special consideration! Planning the wardrobe will take a little bit more effort. Times they are a changing and with that we are seeing less “matchy- matchy” clothes and more of a color tonally cohesion. Think about where in your home the portraits will be displayed and let your photographer help you with clothing color ideas based on your needs.
6. You DON’T get all the images on a CD because you paid the session fee. Check with your photographer on this, everyone is different. Most professional studios do not include all you images on a CD with a session. AND WHY DO YOU NEED A CD ANYWAYS? A big issue facing our children’s future is the lack of the printed image as a family legacy and heirloom. Years from now, your grandchildren will be going through the history of their parent’s (your children’s) past. Will they find neat looking round silver disks containing all the image of their parent’s childhood, only to find they no longer have the technology to open and view them? Think about how hard it is even now to view or convert old movie film from your parent’s past. Or, will all the photos from your child’s past be lost on discarded or non-functioning cell phones and computer drives?
Don’t let a “photographer” convince you that you want a disc of your images from your family or child’s portrait session. Insist on high quality prints, from a reputable studio, with a guarantee! Otherwise, your family’s heritage may consist of some pretty silver disks hanging over your sofa.